Wednesday, 09.03.2011

After breakfast we strolled along Khlong Bang Lamphu to the pier on the Chao Phraya. We took the river boat to Ratchawong Pier to explore Chinatown.

living along the canal

flower garlands for temple offerings and house altars

fruit vendor in Chinatown

Salak or snake fruit - delicious!

Then we took the boat (by the way, a very cheap and convenient means of transportation in the city center) north to Thewes Pier. From there we walked to Vimanmek Mansion, a former royal palace entirely built from golden teakwood. It is the world's largest teakwood building and many rooms can be visited on a guided tour. In addition to the furniture also historical photos of and presents to the royal dynasty are displayed. Even the allegedly first shower in all of Thailand can be inspected. The whole building was originally located on Koh Sichang in the Gulf of Thailand and dismantled in 1900 by order of King Chulalongkorn (Rama V.) to be reassembled here in Dusit Garden.

Vimanmek Mansion

the palace gardens

We decided to take a tuk-tuk back to the hotel. Even though the drivers have a rather bad reputation - I am pretty sure that we payed waaaay too much despite bargaining - it was fun driving in one of these vehicles.

Tuk-Tuk transport

safely arrived!

In the afternoon we were again picked up by Apple and Mot. We drove to Amphawa at the Mae Klong river, some 80 km west of Bangkok. We had planned to visit the floating market, but when we arrived we found out that it is only open during the weekend. So, we hired a long-tail boat instead to visit some temples along the river.

  sign to the floating market - nice phonetic r/l mix-up *g*

here should be the floating market

At the first temple - Wat Thong Kung - we donated roof tiles for the temple's renovation. Here you can also improve your Karma by setting free all kinds of aquatic animals like eels, small fish, turtles, frogs and snails for a fixed price. Yet, since most of them get caught again by the sellers soon after release I dare to question the benefit of the action (apart from the seller's purse, evidently).

I was not able to find out the name of the next temple we visited. There we saw some Buddha statues and marvellous ancient mural paintings.

Apple and Dagmar on the Mae Klong

we wrote our wishes on the donated tiles

donations on display

Karma for sale!

Apple explaining the Karma story

living on the river

the young monk explained and Apple translated

Another temple along the river is Wat Bang Kung situated on an important historical site. Here King Taksin set up camp when the Burmese attacked the country. There is a war memorial with many Muay Thai fighters in different poses. The monks also accommodate some animals like chicken, goats, pigs and even an ostrich.

Most impressive is the small chapel (Bot) almost completely enclosed by banyan tree roots with a golden Buddha inside. Time and humidity are taking a heavy toll on the stonework being in dire need of renovation.

temple tree or tree temple?

goat on the belfry

Muay Thai fighters

On our way back we saw some fishermen catching shrimps - I didn't even know that you can catch shrimps with a fishing rod!

shrimp fishing

Finally we had dinner in a very nice restaurant at the river. We had squid in chili sauce, glass noodles with shrimps, fishcakes with fried basil and a whole fried fish, accompanied by some vegetables, rice and a number of (chili-)sauces - delicious!!

After dinner we returned to Bangkok to visit the night market at the Memorial Bridge and the nearby flower market.

on Memorial Bridge

the illuminated Chedi of Wat Prayun Wongsawat

at the flower market

Finally we went to a very popular "milk bar" to enjoy their speciality which is some kind of french toast with many different toppings to choose from. The bar was still crowded with teens and students despite the fact that it was a few minutes before closing.

Sad but true, it was already time to say goodbye again. It was a pleasure to meet Apple and Mot and we enjoyed these last two days very much.

Tomorrow was the last day of our vacation, and we planned to do a little more sightseeing and some shopping . =>

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